Aquaponics Fish Overview
Aquaponics Fish is a website dedicated to providing information on aquaponics, the emerging practice of growing fish and plants in a closed water system utilizing the natural synergistic relationship between these two species. A wide variety of aquaponics fish can been raised in backyard tanks and most plants that are grown in the soil in home gardens can also be be cultivated in aquaponics grow beds. This website discusses the many different options that are available for designing and operating an aquaponics system.
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Aquaponics, itself, is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics to create a sustainable and efficient method of food production. Both hydroponics and aquaculture have long histories going back hundreds of years, while aquaponics is a relatively new field with serious research dating back to the 1970's. Nonetheless, many aquaponics enthusiasts around the country have experienced great success creating sustainable aquaponic systems that regularly produce organic fruits or vegetables and healthy fish populations for either consumption or as ornamental pets.
Aquaponics is much more efficient than traditional vegetable gardens and will produce higher crop yields with less cost and effort. With this technique, you hit two birds with one stone: fish thrive in the closed freshwater system and from their waste products produce the nutrients needed by plants, which in turn, by feeding on the nutrients in the system, filter and clean the water for the fish.
Edible fruits and vegetables or ornamental plants can be grown in aquaponics plant beds. Aquaponics fish can be raised as either an additional food source or as pets. Tilapia, bass, crappie, koi and goldfish are all popular choices for aquaponics fish.
Aquaponics is usually defined as a hybrid of two existing methods: aquaculture and hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a solution of water and nutrients, without soil. This solution is created by adding the nutrients that plants need to the water, which are then fed directly to the plant’s roots. Hydroponics can be used to provide plants with the ideal water and nutrient ratios and optimum conditions for growth.
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the growing of aquatic species, such as fish, crayfish and prawns in a controlled environment. A key to success in aquaculture is the ability to grow healthy fish by maintaining water quality through the removal of adverse chemicals produced from fish waste products. Aquaponics utilizes a symbiotic relationship between these two methods to produce fresh fruits and vegetables while at the same time sustaining a freshwater fish system.
As they eat and grow aquaponics fish produce waste that introduce ammonia into the water. Even at relatively low concentrations ammonia is toxic to fish. Through a natural process known as the Nitrogen Cycle, ammonia from fish waste products are transformed by beneficial bacteria in the water into nitrites which are subsequently converted again by bacteria into nitrates. While, nitrites are also toxic to fish at low concentrations, nitrates are not. However, high level of nitrates in water are also problematic for fish.
Fortunately, nitrates provide the nutrients that are needed by plants. By consuming these nitrates, the plants filter the water to create a clean and safe environment for the aquaponics fish. By producing ammonia in the first place, the aquaponics fish provide the nutrients required by the plants.
By combining these two older practices, aquaponics is the ideal answer to a fish enthusiasts problem of disposing nutrient rich water and a hydroponic growers need for nutrient rich water.
Benefits of Growing Aquaponics Fish and PlantsNow why would anyone be interested in aquaponics? Here are the top reasons why:
- Aquaponics does not require a lot of space. You can grow up to 10 times the number of plants as a traditional garden in the same area.
- An aquaponics system is very flexible. There are various sizes and designs that can be built in your backyard, in a greenhouse or even in your home or apartment.
- An aquaponics garden is less time consuming and uses up to 70% less energy than a traditional garden.
- Aquaponics fish provide a truly organic, natural form of nutrients for the plants.
- There is no need to add fertilizers or to cultivate the soil.
- There is no need for weeding.
- There is no need for watering the plants. An aquaponics system uses 2% of the water that a traditional garden does.
- By eliminating the soil in vegetable production, you eliminate all soil borne diseases and do not have to add toxic persticides.
- If your climate permits or if you are growing indoors or in a greenhouse, you can grow crops in year-round.
- A small aquaponics system can produce 100 lbs (45 kg) of fresh fish and yield 200 lbs (90 kg) of fruits and vegetables for consumption or sale every 6 months.
- An aquaponics garden can provide a self sustaining food supply for your family or be scaled up to operate as a profitable small business.
No one is too old or too inexperienced to start their own aquaponics system. If the desire to be self-sufficient is there and you have a the passion for raising fish or gardening, aquaponics is right for you! On a hobby scale, aquaponics is catching on quickly. Many backyard gardeners are setting up systems to grow hundreds of pounds of aquaponics fish and all the fresh vegetables a family needs.
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